A boost for the week

Many of us need a boost at the start of a new week. I get my boosts from the Holy Spirit. I don’t have to say a special prayer. My prayers are like a thread that keeps on going and what I have to do is read the thread and get the words that the Lord wants me to hear and use to get me through the day or through tough situations. The thread has words for every day and it has whispers from the Holy Spirit, verses from the Word of God and songs from my heart to the Lord’s. What would I do without the Holy Spirit? Where would I be? I remember where I used to be and I wouldn’t want to go back for anything in the world. I know where I am headed and I have put the belt of patience around my spiritual waist so I can get there step by step because after all the Lord is directing my steps. He has control of it all. The boost from the Holy Spirit today is about the start of a new day. Today is not like yesterday and it is just in the shadow of what tomorrow is going to be like. On this new day, at the start of this new week, the Lord is whispering hope and giving encouragement to whoever is willing to listen. He has the week planned out and His plan doesn’t look like what the worries and fears are designing in our minds. The bumps on the road this week might slow us down but after the problems show up like mountains, remember that you will come down from that bump and the Lord will keep on driving with you. He will drive you to a better tomorrow. Don’t worry about today and don’t fear tomorrow. Know that the Lord is with you every single day and He is going to make all things new.

 

I love reading about how God is in control in the Bible. It is a powerful truth. I studied it and meditated on it because I was going through a time when everything was out of control. I tried to control some difficult situations and it backfired on me. The Lord tells us not to fear because we are His. That is something! You and I belong to Him. He is in charge of us and He will take care of us. He is in the details of every day of our lives and when we have faith in His ability to be in control of our lives, we don’t have to worry about anything. This week God is still going to be in control. He is still going to call you His and He is still going to show you how much He loves you. He will deliver you from all fears. He will make all things right by being your advocate and your protector. Life can be so unfair but the Lord is there to reverse the injustice and to back you up in the court of life’s trials. I learned at a young age that not everyone is going to treat you fairly and life is part of that cluster of bullies that try to make things difficult for you. However, the Lord has an army of angels ready to go to war for us in the heavenlies and He has a protective hand that is always there to cover us and bless us. Receive the blessings of the Lord this week. Open your mind to His kindness and let your heart be impressed with His unfailing love. This new week is going to be full of His love. It’s going to be overflowing. Expect it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!

 

The Holy Spirit encourages us to hang on to God and to be completely Jesus-centered. This means that we rely on Him as our Savior and we imitate Him. One of the biggest encouragements from the Lord this week is to pray for the world. “Pray for others” is what He is saying at the start of this week. There is so much negativity going on and chaos is on the corner of every street waiting to grab passers-by by the neck and squeezing their heads until confusion is a permanent fixture in their minds. Adding prayers for others to my week is a great boost because it allows me to get closer to God. It gives me a purpose that is in line with His Word and it makes my heart jump. A boost from the Lord brings hope and not only hope for ourselves but hope for others. To make this week complete, give the hope that people are waiting for. Hand out Jesus to people in your life. Give a blessing to the hurting ones. Give a smile to the sad ones. Give a hug to the desperate ones. Give a piece of God’s love to the ones no one loves. Give a word of encouragement to the ones who have no more courage. Let the Lord use you to boost someone’s morale and He will give you the most satisfying boost for this week. Hang on to the Lord all week. This week is going to be phenomenal!

Suggested reading: Psalm 34:4; Psalm 94:19; Romans 8:28

Being God-centered is a game changer

I got saved when I was 14. I was on fire for the Lord. I just didn’t know much and I had no idea what to look for. I looked for God for years. I knew there was more. God was a giant. Jesus was a giant and I could only see a miniature version of Him so I went on this journey to find my great God. Too many things were giants in my life. Too many things took precedence over the Lord. I looked like I was growing spiritually going to church on Sunday and doing my best to be a good person. It didn’t lead me closer to God. It took me closer to religion and to a gospel where God was not the center. Too many things in my life were at the center of my attention and they were taking the seat that belonged to the Lord. It is easy to appear holy and good one day a week and live your own life the rest of the week. I made appointments with God based on my schedule but He had a totally different agenda for my life. I kept ignoring the signs and the messages. I had my own God, a small God and I focused on that. I feel like it took me years to be saved even though I was saved. After a long time I finally got a better understanding of what a relationship with the Lord looked like. I couldn’t be in the center of that relationship. I had to die to self and let God be God. It was hard but it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Dying to self is excruciating especially because of our old ways and the patterns we have had. However, it is the best way to get to know Jesus. It is what we need to have an encounter with Him. I held on to so much but when I let go, God came in. When I let go, my eyes were open.

 

I am talking from experience here but it’s experience that was generated by the teachings of the Bible. Things started to change spiritually for me when I put God at the center of my worship, my praise, my prayers and my attention. Have you ever realized how much of you can be at the center of all these things? It is a tough realization but when it hits you, it wakes you up from a sleep where dreams are about you and where God makes cameos from time to time. If we love God for what He does for us, we put ourselves in the center of everything. Why? Because we love Him for what He does for us and not for who He is. It’s not about who He is. It’s about what His actions are in our lives. It’s about getting something out of the relationship we have with Him. It’s about being satisfied by what He does and not simply by who He is. We should always be grateful and thankful for what He does. We should praise Him for that but our initial instinct should be to glorify Him and exalt Him for who He is. Jesus is our Savior. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. He is good and He is kind all the time. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. We were made to worship Him and not to worship His creation. He is the creator that deserves all our praises. Our relationship with Him should be about Him first. It should be about getting to know Him. Being content with getting to know Him more than getting excited about what He gives us.

 

There is a subtle trap we can fall into. It’s the trap of seeing God as a genie or a provider and nothing else. It’s the idea that the gospel is about gain and not about giving. It’s the idea that the gospel is more about self-improvement and self-empowerment and not about how God improves us and how He empowers us. All power goes to Jesus and our lives should reflect how we recognize His power and His sovereignty in our lives. It’s not the gospel of the “I am almighty through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is the gospel of the good news of Jesus who came to save us and who loves us. He does empower us and He should be regarded as the source and the essence of the power in our lives. Becoming more God-centered was a game changer in my life. I gave Him more of my time. I started having regular worship and prayer sessions every morning and every night. The worship was all about Jesus. I sang my heart out. I cried because of His goodness and I did all that in the privacy of my dorm room. My phone was on silent. I removed all distractions and I had my time with the Lord. It became the best time of my day.  He became the center of my attention. My life took a turn for the better when the better part of it was all about Jesus. The enemy had been playing games with my life but surrendering to the Lord renamed the game by giving it a heavenly twist. Jesus was the twist I needed. He rewrote the script when I gave up the pen and let Him take control of my story. Friend, it is all about Jesus. It’s never been about us. Actually Jesus makes it about us when we make it all about Him but He is the center. He is the reason why. He is the answer. He is the Messiah. He is the message. He is the gospel. He is the good news. He is everything. Make it all about Him and you will never go wrong!

Suggested reading: Matthew 6:33; Matthew 10:38-39; Colossians 3:17

Did you hear the good news?

Have you been watching the news? Watching the news nowadays can be a very stressful situation. It is good to stay informed and to know what’s going on but when we can’t control the narrative and we are presented with biased information, our level of anxiety can go through the roof. I like to read the news online and decide for myself. I have some sources that I like more than others and I make sure I don’t get lost in the media’s representation of the facts. My main source for news is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I use His Word as my filter for everything I read. The world has its own facts but so does the Lord. The good news of the Gospel often contradicts the news of the media. The media says we should be very worried and we should expect the worst. The Lord says we shouldn’t worry and we shouldn’t fear. He has good news and His good news is constant. That is the beauty of it. No matter what happens in the world, “God has already happened.” No matter how bad things get, God will always be better. Our problems, our bad news and our struggles can’t compete with the good news of the Lord. Friend, your storm might be gigantic today but the Lord can still quiet that storm and make it stop bringing winds of fear into your life. Trust the One with the best news. Trust that Jesus is still here to heal, bless and set you free.

 

Jesus is anointed to set the captives free, to proclaim the good news and to proclaim freedom. There is always good news with the Lord. If what you think you are getting from God is a message that fills you with fear and anxiety, you are not hearing from God. Cut off that source. Don’t listen to that message. God will never tell you to start worrying and to plan for the worst. He is practical but He is also supernatural. He wants you to wash your hands and cover your face but He will also protect you and bless you through this hard time. He has the power to do what no humans can do. He has news for you and the news is that you are blessed and highly favored. Blessings are following you wherever you go. Stop looking for your next trial. Keep thanking the Lord for your present blessings. Stop asking for trouble with doubt and fear in your heart. Release the doubt and the fear. Work with the Holy Spirit to receive divine peace that surpasses all understanding. Focus on the God of miracles. Focus on the God of the supernatural. His good news will get you through every day and it will give you joy to face anything that might come your way.

 

Just like anyone else, I love good news. I love receiving a nice phone call with exciting news. I like finding an email in my inbox with some terrific news. Above all I love opening my Bible and reading God’s good news. The Word of God puts me in a great mood. His Word puts an end to any negative thoughts that stem from the bad news in the world. I know what’s going on in the world but I also know what’s going on with the Lord. With Him nothing is impossible. With Him all bad things can be worked out for my best. With Him hope is a daily reality. With Him love always triumphs. With Him tomorrow is taken care of and today is a nice present. With Him bad news can’t last. With Him solutions are abundant. Listen to the good news of the Lord more than you listen to the news of the world. You will be able to stand and keep walking even when everything around you is falling apart. Jesus came to proclaim good news and freedom. Hear what He has to say. Pay attention to His words. Embrace His freedom. You are not a slave to the adversity. You were set free and you are still free indeed in Jesus’ name. Enjoy His good news. Guard it in your heart and let your mind hear it over and over again! Did you hear the good news? Jesus died for you so you can live an abundant life! He is still alive!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 31:8; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18

The love fruit

Serving at church has been one of the highlights of my weeks this past year. It has opened my mind to considering other people’s perspectives and learning to put myself in their shoes. It has opened my heart to welcoming everyone. It has helped me recognize that Jesus loves everybody no matter who they are. Jesus is love and the mention of His name alone brings love more than the world could ever know. Jesus is the perfect example of service. He died on the cross as an act of servitude. He put you and me before Himself. There is no greater love. Now, He wants us to keep that spirit of service in and outside of church. We should be willing to serve and help people wherever we go. Serving others is following in Jesus’ footsteps. It is a demonstration of who He is. You and I will be the only Bible that some people will ever get to read. God’s love through us can change lives just like the Bible changes lives. Let’s nurture God’s love by keeping an attitude of servitude and of giving. Love is a fruit of the spirit and it can grow (Galatians 5:22-23). The more we water it, the more it will grow. How do we water the love fruit? Yielding to love and expressing love is the best way to water this fruit. Practice makes perfect. Let’s make it into a way of life. Here is a secret about love. Whenever you are going through a hard time, give in to love. Find someone who needs love. Find someone who is going through trials and help them. First of all it will take the focus off of your problem. Second of all it will bring great satisfaction to your soul and spirit. There is tremendous power in showing love. It will not only bless the person you are helping but it will bless you a great deal. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) so give love with a joyful attitude. Love exists inside of you and even if you don’t feel very loving, it is there. You might need to jump start it and it will come to the surface. Do your part and God will meet you halfway. God will take care of you. Take care of someone else and God will come through. Keep serving people as if you were serving the Lord. Great satisfaction guaranteed!Suggested reading: Luke 6:31; Luke 6:35; Romans 12:9; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:10